NRCS seeks to pay rent for flood-prone land; Applications due May 31 for Water Bank Program’s 10-year contracts

Published 6:10 am Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Mower County landowners with flood-prone property can apply by May 31, for a federal program that provides annual rental payments over a decade-long contract.

Applications are being accepted by the Mower County office of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for the Water Bank Program.

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Goals of the Water Bank Program are to preserve and improve major wetlands as habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife, including conserving surface waters; reducing soil and wind erosion; contributing to flood control; improving water quality; improving subsurface moisture; and enhancing the landscape’s natural beauty.

“The Water Bank Program provides a win-win opportunity for farmers and wildlife. Farmers can retire perpetually flooded lands while wildlife get more habitat,” Minnesota NRCS State Conservationist Troy Daniell said in a press release. “Then the win-win continues because wetlands can improve water quality.”

Severe flooding of agricultural land has been a problem in Mower County, especially in the Cedar River Watershed, as well as throughout Minnesota and the whole prairie pothole region this year and in the recent past.

Eligible land includes flooded crop land, flooded hay, pasture, or rangeland, as well as flooded private forestland. The Water Bank Program is part of the larger NRCS effort to help landowners conserve grasslands and wetlands in the Prairie Pothole region. Maintaining wetlands and grasslands in Minnesota provides water quality protection, potential flood reduction, carbon sequestration, and enhanced wildlife habitat.

The local NRCS office is in the same office building in Austin as USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Mower Soil & Water Conservation District at 1408 21st Ave. NW.

For more information, contact NRCS-Mower County at 507-433-2343, ext. 3, or email Teddy Moreno-Santos at